Blair Mart Mediterranean Foods
924 Pandora Ave
The fact that this grocery store is open after 8pm can easily have me singing the praises to Allah than that other deity. But if I am to look around the corner, I might find a shrine to Zeus tucked way and I’d still be awestruck.
To see this store still open (9pm) after Whiskey Bars: a kabarett with the songs of Kurt Weill must show that the staff has dedication. Actually, I think there’s only one guy who operates this store and he’s very accommodating to the night life in Victoria. People can venture in to buy groceries or grab a bite to eat nearly any time of the day. There’s a small deli serving up Halva’s, Nougats, and Baklavas. For me, it’d be the authentic and homemade Turkish Delights.
I still recall that first visit: the gentleman behind the counter recommended the store’s own product over the packaged material. He explained that it doesn’t always have to be sweet and taught me a culinary lesson that afternoon.
Along with the succulent spinach pie that I had, two pieces of Delight were offered for me to sample, and I left the establishment a happy camper. In the latest visit, I bought the more sweeter kind. And the fact that kindly gentlemen (I tried asking for his name, but he prefers to remain anonymous) offered suggestions in how to properly savour the delight with particular wines is worth noting.
Anyone missing a flavour from his or her home can most likely find the product here. I saw a huge assortment of spices, olives, teas, breads and jams from the Mediterranean and Middle East tucked away here and there. To be specific, I spotted arrabbiatas, smoked paprika and Persian teas. There’s even a mountain sage type tea which caught my eye, but I have more than enough teas to go through at home first.
On this trip, I discovered a Persian type of bread, a sangack made by Afra, which tasted absolutely crispy and divine when toasted. It has a good roasted scent to it even hours after opening the package. Even though this bread is a simple product, originally made by soldiers to eat their kababs on as a wrap, I’m finding my own experiments with it to be quite tasty.
I tried it over a Laughing Cow cheese spread and couldn’t stop. I tore into a good one-fourth of the large bread the next day (it measures about three feet), and I’m still eying it before heading out to my next Fringe Show.
4½ Blokes out of 5